Oberlin College Commencement

Oberlin College Commencement

Commencement/Reunion Weekend

Oberlin College will celebrate Commencement/Reunion Weekend from May 19-22, which represents a slight shift from when the event is typically held: Memorial Weekend. Commencement exercises will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 22.

Oberlin College faculty approved changes to the academic calendar in 2012. Officials wanted to extend Reading Period, close the gap between the end of New Student Orientation and the beginning of classes, reduce the time between the end of winter term and the beginning of the second semester, and end the second semester earlier.

As a result of these changes, Commencement will not always be on Memorial Day; rather, Commencement will now take place on the fourth Monday each May. We will continue to prepare for a memorable weekend with such familiar traditions as Illumination and class reunions. Please plan to join us.

Commencement Speakers, Award Recipients

Darren WalkerOberlin College will welcome Darren Walker as its 2017 Commencement speaker when Commencement exercises take place Monday, May 22 on Tappan Square.

Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, considered the nation’s second-largest philanthropic organization. He has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors for more than 20 years. He led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. He is chair of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.

Prior to joining Ford, Walker was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed the rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation—Harlem’s largest community development organization—Walker oversaw a comprehensive revitalization program of central Harlem, including more than 1,000 new housing units. Previously, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS.

The college will present Walker with an honorary Doctor of Humanities.

Jill JacobsOberlin College will welcome Rabbi Jill Jacobs as its 2017 Baccalaureate Service speaker.

The annual Multifaith Baccalaureate Service will be held at 1:30 p.m., on May 21 in Finney Chapel with guest speaker Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, an organization that mobilizes 1,800 rabbis and cantors and tens of thousands of American Jews to protect human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories. She will speak on the topic, “From Private Conviction to Public Action.”

Widely regarded as a leading voice on Jewish social justice, Rabbi Jacobs regularly lectures at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and conferences and has written about Jewish perspectives on social justice and human rights for more than two dozen publications.

In addition to Walker, the college will present honorary degrees and service awards to the following alumni and friends of the college:

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